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Development of recycled water major issue: economics minister

2012/06/29 22:16:13

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said Friday at a water resources forum that development of the use ofrecycled water is a major issue for Taiwan.

Shih said that according to government estimates, 70 percent of the country's water resources are used for agriculture and 20 percentfor household use, with the remaining 10 percent given over toindustrial use.

"Finding ways to use our water resources properly has become a major issue," Shih said at the forum, which was co-sponsored by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Yang Wei-pu, director-general of the MOEA's Water Resources Agency,expressed hope that the 70 percent of water resources used in the agricultural sector will not increase, but added that this does not mean agricultural production will not increase. Rather, he said, increases could be achieved by upgrading the efficiency of water use.

Shih said that using recycled water cuts the impact on theenvironment, but noted that the use of the new technology required forrecycling water means that the cost is higher than for regular water.

Recycled water can cost up to NT$30(US$1) per metric ton, which isconsiderably more than the cost of normal water.

TSMC Vice Chairman F.C. Tseng said that the recycled water use ratefor his company was 85 percent prior to 1999, but has now reached over 90 percent.

He noted that TSMC requires 5.6 liters of water for every squarecentimeter of silicon wafer produced, which he said is already lowerthan the amounts used in foundries in the United States (about 6.1 liters) and South Korea (6.2 liters).

He stressed that the development of the country's science parkscannot be expanded without any limits, and said that looking ahead,the development of desalination plants to process seawateris an area in which efforts should be stepped up.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan said that water consumption per person per day averages 352 liters in Taipei and200 liters in Kaohsiung, compared with 128 liters in Western Europeand 180 liters in China's Nanjing, showing that people here are relatively lavish in their water use.

He said it is important to set forth a reasonable water-usevolume for Taiwan.

(By Yang Shu-min and Lilian Wu)